As most of you reading this know, I have been one of Ousmane Dembele’s fiercest critics in the past.
Even in the recent past, I have been known to take a few pot hits against the French World Cup winner.
Maybe it’s more because of my own frustrations with a player who clearly has it all but hasn’t played at the level he’s really capable of on a fairly regular basis.
Let’s be honest, he has something that no one else in Barca’s squad has, and when he’s 100% fit and in flight he is a pleasure to watch.
If he can just avoid injury for an extended period and execute his last ball more often than he did, frankly, he can save the club a pretty penny in transfer fees as there won’t be any need to research. a player with exactly the credentials he has.
-Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 26, 2021
Xavi clearly values him and potentially persuading him to stay – apparently at less than he would receive elsewhere – cannot be underestimated.
Footballers need confidence to perform at their best and it is obvious that the coach gave Dembele exactly that.
In addition, at 24, there have certainly been signs of the player’s early maturity, both footballing and personal.
Still a far cry from his supposed peak years as a player, there will be a lot more to come from Dembele, and until recently these were believed to be at Camp Nou. Indeed, the above image from the player’s Instagram account alluded to his intentions.
However, just like what happened in Dortmund when he wanted to join Barca, things turned badly.
If rumors are to be believed, Dembele’s head has yet been returned by his agent who allegedly demanded a signing fee of € 40m for his client and a salary of € 40m per year.
His bargaining chip, apparently, is that the club can afford it given they retain their interest in signing Erling Haaland this summer, which, for what it’s worth, remains my opinion on why which Leo Messi was allowed to start in first place.
The key role that Ousmane Dembélé can have in the configuration of Xavi becomes clear. Xavi wants his wingers to really extend the pitch high and wide and that plays on Dembélé’s strengths with his superb 1v1 play of both feet. It was the main source of Barca’s chance creation against Sevilla.
– Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) December 21, 2021
In any case, I digress.
Interest in the French Premier League seems quite real, so the club have to make a decision.
Considering the current financial situation, they can’t dwell on this one, going back and forth and wasting precious time in the transfer market.
The club have made their offer and should stick to it. There is no point in breaking the piggy bank and Barca will always be bigger than any individual. Particularly one who has played less than half of the games at his disposal and now has his agent holding a gun, metaphorically speaking, at Laporta’s head.
It may absolutely be important for the new Barcelona that Xavi aims to build, but, again, if there is a perceived reluctance to commit – immediately – then the club have no choice but to wash up hands.
The only question remaining is whether they will be able to charge him a fee in January or whether they will have to keep him there until the end of the campaign, which would be a very unsatisfactory arrangement.